August 27, 2007

Unsung Heroes

BOULDER, Colo. - When Justin Drescher and Maurice Cantrell do their job well on Saturdays during the football season, few people notice. Such is the life of a snapper and fullback.

In Drescher's case, the lack of attention is a good thing.

"It is true that as a snapper you only get noticed if you make a mistake," said Drescher, who is listed atop the depth chart at both short snapper and long snapper going into the 2007 season.

"That is the key, just not making a mistake," he added. "I want every one of my snaps to be perfect. I know that isn't possible so I try to go out there and be as close to perfect as I can be."

A scholarshiped player, Drescher signed with the Buffaloes out of Southlake (Texas) Carroll with the Class of 2006. As a true freshman last season, he made all 104 special teams snaps.

The fact that Drescher played in front of large crowds in high school helped aid his transition to the college level. Southlake Carroll posted back-to-back 16-0 records and won the Texas 5A state championship during his junior and senior seasons.

"I was used to playing in front of 40,000 people in high school so it didn't really faze me when I got to here," he said.

"Justin is a pretty mature kid so I think that helped him as well," added head coach Dan Hawkins. "You get a little nervous when you have a true freshman being your snapper but he was pretty good. You cannot underscore the importance of those guys (snappers)."

In Cantrell's case, he got to hear his named called over the loud speaker in Folsom Field twice last season. He caught two passes for 38 yards in the Buffaloes' win over Texas Tech.

But it was a blue-collar, lunch pale mentality that helped him succeed as CU's starting fullback. Cantrell was moved from linebacker to fullback in the middle of August drills last year. He catapulted himself to the top of the depth chart just weeks after making the move to offense.

"Fullback is definitely not a glory position," Cantrell said. "You are not a wide receiver, you are not the feature back getting the ball all the time but you do form part of the backbone of the offense."

"Something that keeps us going is that we have our little fullback club," he added. "All of us fullbacks pick each other up and help each other out. We are a good support system for each other."

Fellow fullbacks Samson Jagoras and Jake Behrens might provide a good support system, but they are also gunning for Cantrell's starting position.

"It is nice that I don't feel like the new guy [at fullback] anymore but this year's camp was harder because I can't just do the same thing I did last year," Cantrell expressed. "I have to show improvement and that is something I worked hard on all of camp. I need to continue to get better."

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